FOR THE <3 OF TRAINS

             Greetings All

B U S H J U N K I E S C I T Y T O U R

There is an English saying that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, well this “old dog” learnt one last week.

I was hosting a foreign group who have specifically come to South Africa to look at our old steam locomotives. I was totally unaware that here in Bloemfontein there is the only workshop in South Africa dedicated in repairing and preserving these by gone relics.

I have once read that Bloemfontein had the largest workshop in South Africa for repairing locomotives, but I never really followed up on this. I was flabbergasted in what I saw and I regret in not taking more photos, there are about 10-15 perfectly restored steam locomotives and various other railway paraphernalia in various stages of development. Two of the locomotives are to be shipped out to New Zealand and others are used here in the Free State at Sandstone Estate near Ficksburg.

L O C O M O T I V E S

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit the Transport museum in George and seen all the old trains there, then the chances are it was restored here in Bloemfontein. This is a wonderful opportunity for any steam railway enthusiast to view these machines (I think it’s a man’s dream world) and is a wonderful attraction here for those who are interested. One has to book in advance to make the necessary bookings but I can recommend a visit to the workshop and will add value to my city tour.

I know that April will be a bumper month for the tourism industry with the Angus Buchannan conference being held soon. I think that we can compare this month to October when the Macufe festival attracts people from all over South Africa and all the accommodation places are fully booked. I do have some concerns with the logistics for this conference but I hope that everything will run smoothly and professionally and perhaps Bloemfontein can host it again next year.
Please contact me if you have any tour guiding requests or in need of transfers.

Thank you
Yours in Guiding
Tony Horn

FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH

Hello!

F R I D A Y / N I G H T / F O O D / M A R K E T

As promised, here’s our “Flavour of the Month”: Neighbourhood Market à la Jack & Jill Food Co.

Masha and I attended the market last month. We both deem it worthy of your time; especially to those of you who love live music, food and socialising (I mean… who doesn’t?).

The market is located in the colourful Reizis Square under hundreds of dainty fairy lights. It was quite the enchanting experience – we arrived before sunset and stayed long enough to experience the illumination of the fairly lights as the sky turned dark. The sunset also beautifully complimented the two palm trees from which the “Neighbourhood Market” sign hangs. #pictureperfect

@Simpl3Stori3s

Apart from the aesthetically pleasing setting, I thoroughly enjoyed Simple Stories’ stellar live performance. There was a wide range of tasty treats and drinks to choose from: gourmet food, sweets and STELLAR CRAFT BEER.

 

 

WILTSHIRE AND WHITE HORSE COMPANY GIN JOURNEY

I bought a few prawn rissoles, lemon meringue and a blonde beer and parked off on the grass. Masha ended off her market experience at Wiltshire and White Horse Company (a pub in the square that serves really great gin).

The market was vibrant and of high standard in terms of its food, drink and music. It was quite the drive to the venue, but so worth it. I want to describe it as a Cape Town vibe… Is that acceptable?

My advice: get there on time so that you can claim a table or spot on the grass and settle in. You want to take a jolly group of mates too! It is the perfect place to hang out with friends and indulge in pure goodness.

The market takes place monthly from 17h00-20h00.

Please find below a table of events taking place this month. Please share with us any events we should be adding to the table.

DATE EVENT VENUE CONTACT NO EMAIL
Apr-04 CINÉ-CLUB UFS
APRIL 4-7 INCUBATOR PACOFS
Apr-06 KAROO DISCLOSURE OLIEWENHUIS ART MUSEUM
Apr-07 BLOEM NIGHT MARKET URTH COFFEE SHOP
Apr-08 COSMIC COLLISIONS ENG NAVAL HILL PLANETARIUM Yolandie Loots FickY@ufs.ac.za
Apr-09 BOTANICAL GARDENS PICNIC& EASTER EGG HUNT BOTANICAL GARDENS Jade Van den Berg (facebook)  
Apr-12 JAZZ EVENING COCO C 073 300 9967
Apr-15 GEHEIME VAN DIE SONNESTELSEL SE REUSE AFR NAVAL HILL PLANETARIUM Yolandie Loots FickY@ufs.ac.za
Apr-22 CRAFT FESTIVAL RAMBLERS
Apr-29 OUR LIVING CLIMATE ENG NAVAL HILL PLANETARIUM Yolandie Loots FickY@ufs.ac.za
APRIL29- MAI4 BLOEM SHOW SHOW GROUNDS

 

Until next month!

Xx

A Traveller’s Friend

On A Mission To Find Vegan Eateries

Ola, Travellers

Follow the White Rabbit

The month of April greets us with  over-done pranks and then swiftly reminds us that winter is around the corner. This is usually the time of the year when I toss the shorts and opt for jeans & T’s.

In our jeans & T’s, Masha and I decided that this month would be dedicated to trying to compile a list of vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants in Bloemfontein. Masha is vegan for the 2017 Lent period and we both have a few vegan/vegetarian friends. Including Masha and friends, I’m pretty sure that a lot of vegan/vegetarian traveller’s would find such a list useful. You want to be served a decent meal at a restaurant and not just a head of lettuce or boiled potato.

You can just imagine the struggle to compile such a list, considering where we are (oh, hello). However, upon many a visit to a variety of restaurants back in March, this is what Masha found:

 

 

Veggie Stir Fry by #amazingchefandrea

“A Silwood graduate chef once told me she always judges a restaurant by the choice of vegetarian options on the menu. I can tell you right away: There are not many vegetarian-friendly (never mind vegan) places in our meat-loving part of SA; however, I’ve managed to find a few.

About Two weeks back I had a Startup Grind meeting at Koekela, a serene little restaurant in the heart of Bloemfontein. On arrival, out of curiosity, I asked whether they had Almond or Soy milk, as I had a serious cappuccino craving. To my surprise, a very friendly waitress not just saved me with caffeine but suggested some lovely vegan dishes to choose from. And even though I didn’t end up eating, the understanding and willingness to help were much appreciated👌definitely a must try✔️
Another spot was Avanti @Woodlands’ shopping center, where once again (thanks to the waitress who happened to be vegan herself) a friend of mine and I were served some delicious pizzas.
Of course, there is always Woolworths’ coffee shop. As in most cases, the menu is limited to avo or hummus sandwiches.

Vegetable Cannelloni by @andreaolivier01

To all fellow vegans and vegetarians out there, the verdict is such: #bestrong and work on your home cooking skills🙌

Yours truly,

M”

 

 

After doing a little investigating myself, I’d heard that the following are either vegetarian/vegan friendly or accommodating:
@59 Plenty
Iewers Nice
Coffe Talks Café
BRAZA
Much to my dismay, we were unable to compile a complete list of vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants. Until such a time, the best advice would be to request accommodating options! Let’s just take solace in the fact that we have come across accommodating places nonetheless.
We haven’t given up just yet. Should you have information regarding vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants, please share with us! That would be helpful in our quest.

(Hint, hint: clearly there’s a gap in the Bloemfontein market for a Vegan restaurant.)

 

Xx
A Traveller’s Friend

 

 

Meet the Travel Guru

“This continent is like a beautiful, passionate woman with all her moods and tempers”

Happy Wednesday to all 🙂

Here is a short story about our #travelguru, Tony Horn, who will guide us through Free State every Mid-month. Enjoy !

 

“Africa, its people, places and stunning wildlife has had me spellbound since I first arrived on these shores back in 1971. My memories of my childhood growing up in Cornwall were of green fields, foxes and seagulls with the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the Cornish cliffs. I loved the outdoors then as a child and that love has never diminished.

This continent is like a beautiful, passionate woman with all her moods and tempers. Once you are under her spell it is hard to resist her charms. Africa is part of us, our origins are from her and thus an inextricable bond exists.

I have had the pleasure of exploring many of the sub Saharan regions but as there is just so much to see, I doubt that I will ever explore it all in this lifetime. I worked for many years at game lodges within the Sabi Sands as well in the Kruger Park creating memories and friendships which will last a lifetime.

It was in 1995 that I met my good friend Roger on the banks of the Zambezi. A few beers later the seed was planted for us to start our own business. Roger was the first to take the plunge and thus he is the original Bush Junkie and is based down in Durban where he conducts his tours. It was only in 2004 that I made the momentous decision to give it all up and to open Bush Junkies safaris in Bloemfontein. I chose this city as firstly I am a Free Stater through and through and wanted to promote this region. Secondly, there were not that many registered tour guides in the province so the competition was small. Well many years later I am still going, still learning and never giving up. I have evolved, doing things I would never have imagined and enjoying the challenge of working for oneself.  I take tours throughout the country not only focusing on its wildlife but also on the people, history and culture. I am also very passionate in promoting Bloemfontein and offer full or half day tours of the city. It is often underrated as a tourist destination, but I hope that after telling you some of the many interesting topics, that it might convince you to come and visit.

I am a firm believer that through travel you learn new cultures and experience exciting things which make your life a never ending journey of discovery and reward.”

 

Yours in guiding,

Traveller’s friend

Who we are & Why we Blog

      Hello, Bonjour, Ola, Καλημέρα, Здравствуйте!

Welcome to the ultimate “traveller’s blog”. Masha and I (Veda) are excited to take you on a wonderful journey through Bloemfontein, South Africa, capturing its historic and cultural essence. We’ll also share with you the in’s and out’s in terms of dining experience, night life and overall adventure.

A bit of a background as to who we are, how the blog came to be and what you can expect from it:

As you already know, my name is Veda. I’m a South African born Portuguese, living in Bloemfontein. I’ve always had an affinity towards different cultures of the world and I, like many, enjoy sight-seeing and going on adventures.

Masha is originally from Belarus. She moved to Bloemfontein in 2007. She is fluent in Russian, French, and English and is currently taking on Greek. And might I add, she is a socialite of note.

(Side note: Masha is a co-owner of the guesthouse, a hidden gem in the peaceful suburb of Dan Pienaar, Bloemfontein, South Africa.)

Our idea of starting a blog was confirmed early in February of this year while Masha and I were sitting under the Pride of India tree at Arista Guesthouse.

 

“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.” Luis Barragán

 

While we were chatting and indulging in some freshly pressed coffee, foreign travellers arrived and checked in at Arista. One of the first questions they asked Masha was, “What can we do here, in Bloemfontein?” Visitors to a foreign territory always want to know what’s on offer in terms of art, entertainment and cuisine, but often don’t have access to this very information.

Traveller’s friend

We’ve therefore decided to start a blog which will provide local and foreign travellers with a monthly to-do list in Bloemfontein. We’ll also share our personal experiences and recommendations (the so-called “flavour of the month”). The “boring” stigma attached to Bloemfontein shall dissolve, because we’re going to show you that Bloemfontein has much to offer!

Bloemfontein is rich in history and has developed a culture of her own. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that JRR Tolkien, who wrote masterpiece fantasy novels such as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ was born right here in the heart of South Africa. Bloemfontein has also been the birthplace of and home to famous fine artists, musicians, actors and sports stars – Father Claerhout, Lucas Maree, Leon Schuster and Zola Budd (respectively).

A bit of a #namedropping, I know! 😉

Basically, we’re on a mission to provide our traveller friends with an enjoyable stay in Bloemfontein, and perhaps even to convince other travellers to make a turn in The City of Roses.

For more historical information, please keep an eye out for our mid-month Rubric from the #travelguru Tony Horn, also knows as @Bushjunkies (tony@bushjunkies.co.za).

Xx
A traveller’s friend